Bigfish Reviews: Digital Summit PHX 2K18

Welcome to the Woodstock of Digital Marketing

Digital Summit PHX this year had all kinds of vendors and speakers that covered the digital marketing gamut, from email marketing and social media all the way to pay per click and SEO shop talk. Marketing C-Suite folks from companies like MGM, Linkedin, Salesforce, GoDaddy and Pfizer were just a handful of the many names in attendance. Over the course of two days I was privy to some pretty great content, so here are two of my favorite talks and what I learned from them!

Engineering Audacious Brand Truths Through Transformational Leadership

Blake Irving, Former CEO of GoDaddy

Blake Irving, the Keynote speaker of the first day, gave the most impactful talk of the event, in my personal opinion. Irving began with an anecdote about golf courses, and how he first got started at GoDaddy.

“People reveal their true selves on the golf course”

Irving recounted when he was a child and used to caddy for businessmen. He grew up realizing that men often revealed aspects of their personality when golfing, such as what they expected of themselves, what they expected of others, how they treat people, how they speak about women when none are around etc… Carrying this lesson with him into adulthood, Irving talked about first meeting Bob Parsons, the prior CEO of GoDaddy, on a golf course. He understood immediately that Parsons was a marketing genius; comedic, intelligent, self-effacing and gregarious at all times.

Blake Irving amicably took over Bob Parsons seat as CEO at a time when GoDaddy was mostly infamous for their racy Super Bowl commercials and spokeswoman Danica Patrick. Irving wanted the company to shed their reputation for schlocky TV commercials and fulfill the potential of becoming a force for good in the world. Irving then spoke on leadership:

“Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth

Irving broke leadership down into two types:

Transactional – This is a leader who optimizes based on business results. Who works on a transaction to transaction basis and is mostly concerned with ROI.

Transformational – This is a leader who leads to make a change. To direct an organization towards a higher purpose or goal.

Often times being a transformational leader is the more difficult approach because it requires you to be uncomfortable and in a state of change, not stagnancy. Irving wanted to transform from the market leader in buying domains to being the worldwide platform for people to chase their dreams. He set a couple goals:

“Radically shift the global economy toward life fulfilling independent ventures”

“Become the best place for women to work”

So Irving became a transformational leader who lived those two goals every day of his tenure as CEO of GoDaddy. He changed the perception of GoDaddy from a company who used women to promoted products, to a company that sold products and promoted women.

Through an ongoing series of changes in marketing, hiring practices and work culture, GoDaddy has grown its female workforce significantly. As of last year, more than a quarter of GoDaddy’s employees were female (a relatively high percentage for the tech world). Half of new engineers hired were female, and women make up more than a quarter percent of senior leadership.


Five Key Traits For High Performing Marketing Organizations

Mathew Sweezy, Principal of Marketing Insights at SalesForce

Mat Sweezy’s talk was buoyed by the trove of customer data that Salesforce has access to as one of the largest CRM suppliers in the world.

1. Tactics Don’t Matter

The first insight was that high performers and low performers have little differentiation in the minutiae of task execution. They use the same tools, the same tactics and the same resources. But high performing organizations saw 2-3 times the value return. In other words, tactics such as posting at certain times of day or only using certain word counts will not make or break your marketing efforts.

2. Marketing as Experience

Full executive buy-in on the new paradigm of marketing was the second insight. Marketing is no longer just telling people about products, marketing has become the product. In other words, marketing is selling experience. It used to be that you built the product, marketed the product, and sold the product, but now you market the experience, sell the experience, and build the experience. For reference, the Experience Economy by Joseph Pine. In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to create a seamless experience across channels.

3. Bigger Budgets

High performing organizations are planning to increase their digital marketing spend by more than 70% in the next year. Meaning upgraded tools, bigger staff and bigger budgets. By deciding which brand perception you are going for, you should budget for marketing according to the following breakdown.

Maintain Branding – 2-6% of Gross Revenue

Average Growth – 7 -12% of Gross Revenue

Fast Growth – 13 – 30% of Projected Revenue

It’s difficult to get the go ahead for extended marketing budgets, but by implementing a stretch budget, you can double down on marketing efforts that show the most ROI. This means entering into agreement with your boss that you can tap into this stretch budget if you hit your stretch goal. For example, hitting 500 clicks when you usually hit 100, and being able to access a higher budget for you to double down on that specific tactic.

4. Better Technology

Higher performing organizations on average use 14 more tools than lower performing organizations. This applies to all sorts of tools, from marketing analytics to web personalization, to emerging technology and more. One of the most important tools to invest in is personalization tools. In the experience economy, the ability to create a personalized experience for everyone that visits your site is a great way to increase engagement. As an example, Sweezy cited Cardinal Health. in 2015, Cardinal Health generated a $47 million pipeline by crating custom user interfaces for each of their customer personas on their homepage.

5. Agile Workflows

The last key trait of High Performing Organizations is having an Agile Workflow. What does that mean exactly? Well, to be honest The Sweez wasn’t perfectly clear about what Agile Workflow precisely is, but from what I gathered, an Agile Workflow is using the quick access we have to customer data to shape and review our content before pushing it out to our potential customers. We have to stop being afraid to pick up the phone and ask our prospects how they liked our content. To take our marketing conversations into conversations, not pitches. As an example, when you go through your inbox, what messages do you delete first? Anything that walks, talks or smells like an ad. We would know this if we asked our prospects questions like:

  1. What were you looking for?
  2. Did it meet your expectations?
  3. Have you seen better?

Sweezy recommends checking out his presentation: X-Factor Agile Workflows slideshare to gain an in-depth understanding.


That’s all we’ll share for now, but stick around for more in the future!

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About the author

Digital Copywriter

As resident “jack-of-all-trades”, Jackson works with accounts, design and the development team in [...]